Jonathan Sexton has played at the Stade de France on one previous occasion, coming on as a replacement in 2010’s loss to les Bleus. Here, in his latest diary entry, he talks about the positives the team will bring forward from the Italy game and the extra bit of kicking practice he got in on the night of the postponed clash with the French.
Looking back at the game against Italy, the manner of the victory was predicated upon the work that we put in, in the first 50 minutes of the match.
It was tough physically, and there were mistakes, but the integrity of that effort earned its reward in the final quarter of the match when we were able to pull clear on the scoreboard.
We aren’t oblivious to the need to improve. Sometimes when you win, things can get glossed over a little but that wasn’t the case here.
Aspects of our play that need improvement were highlighted this week as we prepare for a challenge of a completely different nature.
We also took the positives from the Italian match in terms of patterns and also the tries scored and the points difference earned.
Training has been good all week. There’s a great sense of purpose and at the same time an appreciation of the challenge that lies ahead – two victories in the last 40 years in Paris requires little elaboration.
From a personal perspective it’ll be nice to be able to do some kicking practice at the Stade de France on the Saturday.
The time of the postponed match it wasn’t possible because the pitch was covered. However I did get the chance to practice on the night of the postponed game and that was valuable as most of the crowd was already in at that stage.
There is a big difference between kicking in empty and full stadiums, quite apart from the acoustics. I’m really looking forward to starting my first match there.
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